The number of people employed gained 35,200 in December from November, the statistics bureau said in Sydney. The jobless rate fell to 5.5 percent from a revised 5.6 percent.
The biggest hiring boom in more than three years is being stoked by companies including Chevron Corp., which is expanding liquefied natural gas ventures in Western Australia to meet rising global demand for energy. That will drive economic growth, adding to pressure on central bank Governor Glenn Stevens to raise the overnight cash rate target in February by a quarter point for a record fourth straight meeting to 4 percent.
Rising employment has helped boost consumer confidence, spurring household spending that accounts for more than half of the economy. Retail sales jumped 1.4 percent in November from October, a report showed on Jan. 7.
Advertisements for job vacancies on the Internet and in newspapers jumped last month by the most in 2 1/2 years, a survey by ANZ Bank showed this week.
The participation rate, which measures the labor force as a percentage of the population aged over 15, held at 65.2 percent in December, today’s report showed.